Quantification and interpretation of the climate variability record

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningfagfællebedømt


  • Anna S. von der Heydt
  • Peter Ashwin
  • Charles D. Camp
  • Michel Crucifix
  • Henk A. Dijkstra
  • Ditlevsen, Peter
  • Timothy M. Lenton

The spectral view of variability is a compelling and adaptable tool for understanding variability of the climate. In Mitchell (1976) seminal paper, it was used to express, on one graph with log scales, a very wide range of climate variations from millions of years to days. The spectral approach is particularly useful for suggesting causal links between forcing variability and climate response variability. However, a substantial degree of variability is intrinsic and the Earth system may respond to external forcing in a complex manner. There has been an enormous amount of work on understanding climate variability over the last decades. Hence in this paper, we address the question: Can we (after 40 years) update the Mitchell (1976) diagram and provide it with a better interpretation? By reviewing both the extended observations available for such a diagram and new methodological developments in the study of the interaction between internal and forced variability over a wide range of timescales, we give a positive answer to this question. In addition, we review alternative approaches to the spectral decomposition and pose some challenges for a more detailed quantification of climate variability.

TidsskriftGlobal and Planetary Change
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 1 feb. 2021

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